Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikoletta Smith.
Nikoletta, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was originally born and raised in Europe, more specifically in Hungary. I was introduced to arts at an early age since my mom is an art and biology teacher. If you saw me, most likely, I had a pencil in my hand and was drawing all the time. I also was lucky to go to several adult’s art camps as a kid with my mom, won different even international drawing competitions as well. Based on my passion for arts, I ended up studying Fine Arts and became a Graphic Designer.
My first job after school was as an Art Director at an American Production Company that was located in Hungary. I have learnt a lot about the business side of art during those years. Soon I met my husband, who is American from Chicago and was just on a work trip in Hungary. Very soon, we got married and had a beautiful daughter Athina. Due to my husband’s job, he traveled to different countries a lot and we were also lucky to join him for several months here and there. We lived in Chicago, in Qatar (Doha) twice for a short time. During my travels, I noticed that it doesn’t matter where I go, what culture I’m around, women always love to look beautiful and spend time and money on their appearance all around the World.
Around that time, I realized that I am one of the “victims” of the 90’s as well when it comes to overplucked eyebrows. I know it sounds funny but trends are constantly changing and the thin round eyebrows were not considered as cute no more. So I decided to get my eyebrows tattooed, a kind of new way with strokes. I was fascinated how easy my life became just by saving 15 minutes each morning since I didn’t have to draw my brows on anymore.
Then Microblading came out and was blooming all over the World. I at first was doing my research about it as a customer and next thing you know, I was sitting at one of the classes learning how to do it. I didn’t stop there, and soon after, I also got certified as a Master Permanent Makeup Tattoo artist and even added Scalp Micro Pigmentation to my Service platte as well. So I was finally able to help ladies and even gentlemen with their daily beauty routines just by doing one procedure that lasts for a year or many years depending what they chose. To me, this profession is not a job but a hobby, a passion of mine. It is amazing to see that only 2 hours of work of my hands can literally change a person’s appearance, give confidence and also I earn loyal customers who are keep coming back to me as friends, bringing their moms and sisters with them year after year.
During this time, I divorced my husband and ended up moving to California – Los Angeles with my daughter alone. It was a new world, new culture, new people…New Start! I opened my first Beauty Studio called “iLove iBrows” in Hollywood. It was a very small but super beautiful, modern and stylish space. My dream though was to open a big spa in Beverly Hills. I actually had an exact idea, vision of where and what I need. I always loved the coziness with many small businesses of Robertson Blvd. After a year of researching, I suddenly found the exact location I was dreaming of! Perfect size, perfect location, free parking! After a lot of paperwork, insurance negotiations and more I finally got the keys. This is when things got real since I was all alone with a big empty space and it was scary at first. Thanks to my Dad, I had my very first toolset at 12, so I learnt how to get work done around the house. Being creative is not limited to art only. So I created a 3D plan for the spa decore and was working on it till 3 am daily until it was all done. I can proudly say I did every bit of my beautiful spa all alone and it worth it!
I decided to change the name of the business to Angels’ Lounge Beauty Spa. I picked this name for several reasons. One…we live in the city of Angels, and the other reason is because I feel like during my life, doesn’t matter what path I was on I’ve always received some helping hands even if those were not visible. During all the hard times, travels and private life challenges, by some “magical ways” I always was able to move forward and grow. I wanted to create a space, a business where people feel comfortable, home at a friendly, beautiful environment where they come to a friend not just to get some procedure done. I think I managed to make that happen since my old clients from Hollywood followed me to my new location in Beverly Hills and all the reviews on my different platforms are 5 star.
I wanted others to be able to do what I do too, so I started teaching. I certify people in Microblading, PMU (Permanent Makeup) and SMP (Scalp Micro Pigmentation). The classes used to be in person only, but I am launching my Online Classes as well now. Starting by August/September, I am going to teach classes at a well known Beauty College in the Bay Area as well.
I still claim myself as an Artist but now my canvases are my beautiful clients and they became my creations!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It wasn’t easy to re-start everything from scratch in a new country. Had to rebuild my clientele, had to advertise constantly. It was not easy to be noticed among big companies with pre-existing history. Those older established businesses that started their activities ten years ago when Microblading just started to be known and popular, they were already blooming when I just opened my first location here in Los Angeles. They were able to afford big marketing campaigns which I couldn’t, so yes it was hard at first. I did notice though that most of these bigger Permanent Makeup / Microblading places work almost like factories, they overbook themselves, people are being rushed out and many times not even getting what they asked and paid for, and that’s when they end up coming to me to fix their brows/lips/eyeliners… Noticed the same issue when it came to classes. I do not want the same experience for my customers at my spa. I always make sure everybody gets their deserved time with me without rushing. I only accept 3, maximum of 4 people per day. I also have small group classes, so all my students can get my attention and can learn everything they need to know and feel confident to start their new career after walking out with their certificates in their hands.
Angels’ Lounge Beauty Spa – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As a previous graphic designer, I can use the skill of drawing in my craft or Permanent Makeup. It is still art but in a different form. I’m proud to say that I have a very strong friendly relationship with my clients. My goal always has been to make people feel at home and taken care of while receiving quality service. I never rush, always take my time to explain the process to each client, and I am happy to answer all their questions.
I am glad to say that I have people coming to me from all over the country including New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and even have some ladies from Europe and South America as well. Bigger businesses work as “factories” and book clients in a row to reach as much profit as they can, without even realizing that the actual results and client experiences lose quality. I get clients coming to me after being overcharged by other well-known PMU businesses and asking me to fix their brows/lips/eyeliners. I also have students who got their certifications from very well advertised known companies, however, they didn’t get any attention and received rushed unsatisfactory classes and had to invest more money and time to take my classes. Since I only hold small classes, I give attention to each of my students, and even when working on their very first live models, I am there to watch and help in every step they take.
I have all 5-star customer satisfaction reviews from clients and students.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There are several moments during my career that I am proud of, so it is hard to pick. However, one of my proudest achievements is the fact that I didn’t give up on my dream of opening my storefront in Beverly Hills and achieved 100% 5-star client satisfaction.
- Eyebrow Microblading – $550
- Powder Brows – $500
- Powder & Microblading Combo – $650
- Lip Blush Tattoo – $650
- Eyeliner Upper Lid / Lash Line Enhancement Tattoo – $450
- Eyeliner Upper & Lower Lid Tattoo Combo – $600
- Scalp Micro Pigmentation (for bald spots on head due to hair loss depending on the size of the area prices vary) $1000-4500
- Address: 814 South Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
- Website: www.Angels-Lounge.com
- Phone: 424.279.4231
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelsloungebeautyspa/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelsLoungeBeautySpaBeverlyHills
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/angels-lounge-beauty-spa-los-angeles
All pictures are taken by myself and my daughter – Athina Smith